So I saw the doctor today. Doctors, actually. The surgeon and the medical oncologist (chemo guy). My daughter-in-law was with me to be my backup ears, etc. and we both still couldn’t understand the surgeon’s explanation of how her surgery and the result was good, even though she didn’t get clean margins on the tumor.
Finally, when we talked to the MO, we understood, and now I almost feel I owe the surgeon an apology. True, the tumor’s bottom border was not clean, but that’s because it was sitting on the bone. There was no more tissue she could have removed; she was scraping bone. I thought she’d been saying she couldn’t take any more because she’d be cutting into the muscle. In fact, the MO explained, she did remove some muscle (no ill effect that I’ve noticed). It was the bone that stopped her.
Now whatever cancer cells are left in the area, including the lymph nodes behind the chest wall, will be zapped with chemo and radiation. And less chemo than I expected. Only 4 treatments, 3 weeks apart.
The oncologist also had a pathology report that I hadn’t seen yet that said the HER-2/neu is negative, meaning no cardiotoxic drugs need to be used. (Hurray!) Because the first report said “equivocal” instead of negative, he’s going to be talking to several more pathologists to double- and triple-check everything, but right now it appears he’ll use Taxotere (docetaxel) and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) — commonly referred to as the TC regimen.
Chemo probably won’t start for another 10 days to 2 weeks. First I’ll need to get a baseline PET/CT scan (which will show exactly where any remaining cancer cells are) and an echocardiogram (to make sure my heart can take the treatment). Meanwhile, the incision can continue to heal.
So I’m feeling pretty good this evening. Not to mention, I asked the oncologist if there would be any problem getting more Ativan if I needed it and he assured me I could have all I wanted for the duration. He figures cancer patients have enough anxiety without worrying about whether their anxiety meds are going to be cut off.